Salespeople the world over understand that training rarely trains them to create more results. Often the training is out of touch with the goals they’re pursuing, or it doesn’t apply to the type of prospects they have in the pipeline, or maybe it’s using language and scripts that went out with bellbottom pants.
Yet we know if we don’t train to succeed, then we are training to fail. How can salespeople get training that actually creates more sales, given how diverse and quickly-changing everything is in the world?
Mike Phillips, a sales leader with McCloskey Motors, sat down with us and shared that he believes the best training isn’t the kind that leaders deliver. Rather, sales training that actually creates sales starts with salespeople themselves.
So how do salespeople create – and deliver – training that’s not only effective but relevant to their industry, prospect base, and sales cycle?
First, they have to stop hoping their leadership will stumble upon the perfect trainer or sales program. The best salespeople, according to Mike, take the initiative to systemize their own training program. Whether a salesperson wants to implement something they read in a book, from a speaker, or company-mandated training, it starts with creating systems that ensure the skills are practiced, implemented, and assessed.
Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: Mike believes great training starts with the salesperson – not their manager. That looks like a salesperson asking one of their peers to hold them accountable for accomplishing or trying something specific by a certain date. Whether it’s a sales technique, script, campaign or outreach strategy, training in accomplishing something new begins with a commitment and accountability from the team.
R – Repeatable: Although salespeople often try new things they learn in training, making a new skill repeatable means that the process of trying, tracking and improving a new skill or tactic remains outside the head of the salesperson so they – and their accountability buddy – can measure results.
I – Improvable: Mike recommends to first remove emotion from the equation when assessing the results of anything a salesperson is implementing. Instead of being emotionally invested in the results and being upset if something isn’t a massive success, salespeople can look at the goal they set and ask, “Did I achieve what I set out to in the time I allotted?” If the goal was not reached, were any results seen that make the new skill worth trying again with modifications?
M – Measurable: To make a training system measurable, Mike says the primary thing to focus on is tangible evidence of moving people closer to a sale. Amounts of friends made or random people contacted aren’t getting any prospects closer to becoming customers. By matching up the goals of what the new tactic, technique or strategy with the numerical results we achieved in our pipelines, salespeople can assess whether they implemented the new tactic they were trying and also whether the new technique was effective in creating sales.
Instead of attending training and hoping we remember to use it, salespeople and their leaders can begin treating training the same way they do their commissions. With systems, training is something we can always use more of.